The Dirty Truth about Tampons (and pads)

Did you know that sanitary products are categorised as “medical devices”. “So what?” you might say. This categorisation means that manufacturers are exempt from listing the ingredients used in producing tampons and sanitary pads.

Are they really safe?

The exemption from listing the ingredients is worrying for a number of reasons. The skin around our vagina, and the vaginal tissue itself is highly vascular, leaving it permeable to a wide range of compounds. In other words,  any chemical or toxin is absorbed at a higher rate and will quite possibly enter the blood stream. Chemicals or toxins entering the body via the skin by-pass the filters of the digestive system, and thus are potentially a greater danger to our health. (1)

Other personal care products such as wipes, shampoos, washes etc. are regulated as cosmetics and thus must list all ingredients used. But shouldn’t the ingredients of tampons and sanitary pads be disclosed too? I believe that they should so that women can make informed choices on what they put on their skin and what they place inside their bodies.

Undisclosed substances contained in tampons, sanitary towels and wipes, such as preservatives, pesticides, fragrances and dyes could have possible and serious health effects emerging in the form of an allergic rash, genital irritation, the onset of asthma and an increased risk of cancer.(2)

The cost to our planet

Tampons and sanitary pads create huge waste, which is an ever increasing problem for our planet.

On average a woman will use 11,000 tampons or pads in their lifetime (3). Each one takes years to degrade. This figure is quite staggering – but then – think about how many women are on the planet and how many women to come? We are needlessly creating mountains of waste. We need to do something different.

The personal cost – what is it really?

On average a woman uses around 22 sanitary items per cycle, and spends around £90 per year. (4) Multiply this by 40 years of menstruation, each woman can spend on average £3600 on tampons and pads. Compare this to a Mooncup which cost £20.95 and will last years and years. (3)

Mooncup – what’s that?

The Mooncup is a reusable menstrual cup, around two inches long and made from soft medical grade silicone. It is worn internally a lot lower than a tampon but, while tampons and pads absorb menstrual fluid, the Mooncup collects it. This means it doesn’t cause dryness or irritation, and also that it collects far more (three times as much as a tampon!). Because the Mooncup is reusable, you only need one so it saves you money and helps the environment, too. (3)


The Mooncup is designed to be folded and inserted into the vagina, then removed, rinsed and reinserted up to every 8 hours. A light seal is formed with your vaginal walls, allowing menstrual fluid to pass into the Mooncup without leakage or odour. This seal is released for removal, allowing you to empty the contents, rinse or wipe and reinsert. Comfortable, convenient and safe: the Mooncup can be used overnight and when travelling, swimming or exercising. (3)

What next?

Buy a Mooncup, start using it, and never have to buy, use or dispose of tampons and pads ever again!






Jackie Marsden MAR is a qualified reflexologist and independent consultant (Team Leader) for Neal’s Yard Remedies Organic. Jackie leads and mentors a growing team of consultants (many of whom are therapists integrating organic products into their existing businesses) via the NYRO social selling channel, holding regular team meetings, one-to-one coaching via phone and facetime, and a closed facebook group. All views are my own.


2 thoughts on “The Dirty Truth about Tampons (and pads)

  1. I used to work for the company that provided the cotton drawstring packaging for Mooncup and I can tell you it was an absolute joy working with the owner Sue and her team. She was totally ethical and so environmentally aware about all the aspects of her business. A lovely company and a wonderful product !

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